Why Do You Want Your Favorite Horror Franchise To Die?
Fandom is a strange thing. The difference between loving and hating a property is far less of a plank walk for many than I ever imagined pre-internet (I'm old). The comments I see on the latest news of Neve Campbell possibly returning to the 'Scream' franchise shocked me. They shouldn't have. It was all the usual proverbial social media posts after a piece of news involving a popular movie franchise is released:
"Just let the franchise die already!", "Stop beating a dead horse", "This franchise hasn't been good since ___", "Another cash grab", "Who cares", "Make something original", "It'll only be good if they bring back the original characters", "This franchise is a joke", "She must need money", "You can't make a 'Scream' movie without Wes Craven", "'Scream 4' sucked (Directed by Wes Craven)"
I'm not judging any of these comments. I don't agree but I'm not saying you're wrong. Feel however you want to feel because you're entitled to that. Fuck me and my opinion. I'm just a dude asking you to wonder aloud with me about why we hate seeing more of what we love so badly?
Scream, Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser. I hear constant cries with each piece of news to "Let them die!!!!" and I've never understood it. Let's try and take a subjective look at the reasoning behind closing the doors on one of these beloved franchises:
"They should have quit after the original. They're tarnishing its legacy"
Makes sense where it fits. Would the original 'Halloween' be even scarier if we never saw Michael Myers again after he disappeared from that grassy knoll back in '78? Maybe, but it doesn't matter because that ship sailed long ago for these franchises. I understand why a boxer with an undefeated record would consider retiring early after winning the championship and remain unblemished for life. Each of these franchises however already have at least one big fat ugly "L" on their records. What is there to lose?
Why stop trying to make good content surrounding fascinating characters and creations?Especially when we've already seen most of them at their worst.
"It's never going to be better than the original. So just stop."
I kind of get where this one is coming from. Using 'Halloween' as the example again, that audience had never seen Michael's white mask before. It was as shocking to them that first time as it was to the babysitters on the screen. You can't reproduce that. I get it. If you can't do it better than what's been done already, what's the point?
The point is that for at least most of these franchises, you've probably found at least one sequel to enjoy, right? Then, it was worth it my friends and it could happen again.
I want to spend more time in these worlds. Even if it serves as nothing more than a reminder of how great the originals were. Not to mention wanting to see characters evolve, lore expand and the challenges of the originals updated for the modern world. Could it suck? Sure! But isn't it funner to hope it doesn't? Why wouldn't you want a successful and well made version of something you love, even if it doesn't quite hold up to the original? Does anybody remember seeing any of the sequels in the theater for the first time? Even if you were ultimately disappointed, wasn't it cool to be alive during a time when 'H20' put Michael on the big screen for the first time in however many years? Did you atleast get a little bit of a kick seeing the words 'Friday the 13th' on a lit up movie theater frame outside your local theater? Even if you weren't ultimately a fan of the reboot?
I remember constantly renting 'Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers' at the local Hollywood video. Hell, it was the only copy that was ever available. Sure, the storyline is totally fucked and there's a million reasons that movie isn't perfect but I'm so glad it exists. When I think of all the fun conversations and arguments I've had over the years about the cult of thorn or the Producer's cut, the runes (The GODDAMN RUNES!) I can't help but smile. I'm so glad that broken movie exists. Plus, there were some amazing kills in that film. The mask was one of my favorites as well. My point is sometimes these sequels, even when bad can take on a life of their own and serve as their own point of fandom and good memories for years to come.
"They are just cash grabs anyway"
Can these sequels be cash grabs? Absolutely. So can original content. I'd argue that there's been more cash grab lackluster "original" horror targeted towards teenage crowds over the past ten years than their has been slasher sequels. I also believe that (despite a few exceptions), the lack of trying from studios when it comes to these franchises was more of a practice of the past than it is today. These days, the studios making these movies seem to be more apt to appointing actual fans of the source material to craft the sequels than ever before. Look at the case of 'Halloween' 2018. A lot of people took less money to be a part of the project because they cared about the source material and wanted to make something special.
Wouldn't you agree that in many cases horror is taken more seriously than it used to be? Using 'Scream 5' as an example, Spyglass hired tried and true horror directors Radio Silence fresh off their wholly original, badass and fun 'Ready or Not'. It's not like they hired Shitcan Stan from the mailroom to craft a direct to DVD release so they could maintain the rights ala 'Hellraiser: Revelations'. We don't have to be so cynical do we?
If the material is being taken seriously and there isn't anything to tarnish. Why do we have to kill the franchise? What are we protecting? Canon? Pffft. Who's to say these franchises can't go the James Bond route and live forever with different artists putting their updated spins on classic characters? We're not talking carbon copies here. David Fincher doesn't want to come in and have Michael chasing Laurie around for another however many films. But he might want to come in and put a brand new dark spin on the character. Could you imagine a Quentin Tarantino type mind working on the meta leanings of a 'Scream' film in twenty years? Why the hell not? I have no issue with watching talented or up and coming directors take their shot at a property they grew up with and may have hundreds of ideas for.
"I'm just sick of hearing about it at this point"
My final theory as to why fans so badly want to see their favorite franchises killed off is the 'Halloween' 2018 effect. When that movie was announced originally, even I was shocked at the popularity surrounding it. Previously, it felt like nobody cared about the Halloween conversations my friend and I were having on our little youtube channel. Sure, 'Halloween' fans have always been rabid but all of a sudden it was like everyone was doing Halloween videos, podcasts, etc. Even I'll admit I'm a bit territorial at times and that makes me wrong. We're all just fans and we don't own any of this.
I know as horror fans we feel a particular ownership over the things we love because they aren't always understood by everyone else. Maybe it feels like once a subject becomes so popular, it's been taken away and perverted somehow. Like when you can't get your favorite spicy chicken sandwich because a news article came out comparing them and now everyone's losing their minds at Popeye's? Or when your parents join Tik Tok and it just feels like it's not yours anymore? (Sorry to my kids)
So, what do you think it is? Personally, I'm greedy and I want all the sequels and more content based around my favorite things than ever before. I totally respect that many people feel the opposite, even if I vehemently disagree. I'm just trying to get down to the core of why. Why do we want less of what we love? Let's talk about it. Tell me below why you want to see your favorite horror franchise stop making movies. Maybe we'll do a follow up article sometime and I can argue with you. Respectfully, ofcourse.